Elliott, Shah Honored for Promoting Student-Faculty Cooperation


Aerospace Engineering Prof. Gregory S. Elliott and undergraduate Akash Shah have been recognized with the College of Engineering at Illinois Stanley H. Pierce awards for faculty and students, respectively.

This award was established in 1969 in honor of Stanley H. Pierce, who served as an associate dean in the College of Engineering and who was an inspiring leader in the constant endeavor for better relations between faculty and students. These awards are given to both an outstanding student and an outstanding faculty member in recognition of their efforts to develop empathetic student-faculty cooperation.

Gregory S. Elliott

AE Prof. Gregory S. Elliott
AE Prof. Gregory S. Elliott
One of the most highly-regarded faculty members by students within the College, Elliott has developed student-faculty interactive lab classes that have a reputation for providing students a hands-on experience. For example, his enthusiasm and dedication to the AE 100 course, taken by freshmen during their first semester, has received high reviews, giving his protégées motivation for future achievement.

In recent years, Elliott has developed AE 498UAC, where students learn about, design, and construct small UAV aircraft. Again Elliott has gained the reputation for being very involved. One colleague noted, “Greg plays a key part in the construction phase of the UAVs, even machining some of the parts himself in his home workshop.”

Elliott’s teaching has been regularly recognized in the decade-plus at the College, earning the AIAA Teacher of the Year Award in 2006, the Collins Award for Innovative Teaching Excellence in 2007, and the Rose Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013. He has also frequently been named to the Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by the Their Students.

In addition to teaching, Elliott served as associate head for the Undergraduate Program in AE, where he gained recognition for developing an open dialogue between students
and faculty. Currently he chairs the department’s Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and serves as the advisor for the Design/Build/Fly project. He has also made significant changes to the advising experience and carries 15-20 advisees on a regular basis.

Elliott earned BS and MS degrees and a PhD from The Ohio State University. He joined the University of Illinois aerospace engineering faculty in 2003, was promoted to full
professor in 2008. His research focuses on thermal and fluid sciences.

Akash Shah

AE undergraduate Akash Shah
AE undergraduate Akash Shah
A native of Mumbai, India, Shah is respected by both faculty and students for his performance in the classroom, his leadership in service activities, and his mentoring
of international students in the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

Shah is completing bachelor’s degrees in aerospace engineering and computer science while earning a minor in the Hoeft Technology and Management Program. In addition
to his rigorous coursework, he has not only been active, but has taken a leadership role in a variety of activities, including Engineering Council, the Illinois Space Society (ISS), the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee (DSAC) and the NASA University Student Launch Initiative (USLI).

As an executive board member for the Illinois Space Society, Shah helped nurture student collaborations on several technical projects, allowing for expanded research opportunities for students. He has also hosted student-led information sessions to encourage students to make suggestions, leading to several renovations within the department.

As president of DSAC, Shah helped form Undergraduate Advisory Boards to represent each of the 12 departments within the College and helped organize an undergraduate research workshop that attracted 400 students.

His involvement in USLI included working with the Technology Entrepreneur Center to fund the team’s travel for its final rocket launch at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. As team leader for this year’s project, he is working to develop three
scientific payloads on-board a high-powered rocket as part of the Space Launch System research program.

Shah was named a Knight of St. Patrick this year and has been a previous recipient of the 2013 Dale Margerum Memorial Award, given to the AE undergraduate who exemplifies outstanding leadership qualities by participation in departmental extracurricular activities. He has earned the Ernst & Young Innovation Award, is a James Scholar and is a member of the Chancellor’s Honors Program. Shah earned first place in both the 2011 Pariveda Android Development Challenge and the 2011 British Petroleum “Professional Responsibility” Strategy Competition.